Plans for the formation of a new eurosceptic group in the European parliament have been put on hold.  The initiative would ally UK Conservative MEPs with the centre right Czech civic democrats (ODS) in a new faction known as the Movement for European Reform.  UK Conservative leader David Cameron had planned to take his party out of the pro EU integration European People's Party this year but the move will now be postponed until after the European elections, due in 2009.

Finland has now established itself as the president of the Council of Europe after taking over the rotating leadership from Austria on 1 July.  Enlargement will be a key feature of this presidency as the commission's final progress report regarding Bulgaria and Romania is due to be delivered in the coming months.  The Finns have also undertaken the task of considering the failed constitutional project and starting a report setting out the options available for progressing it in the future.

Meanwhile Slovenia was last week given the formal go-ahead by EU finance ministers to join the Euro zone at the start of 2007.  As the country has no national mint, it has chosen to have the new currency produced in Finland.  The Slovenian Central Bank must distribute 155 million euro coins and 42 million bank notes by 1 January 2007.

The European Parliament is currently in recess for the summer and its next meeting will take place in Strasbourg on 4 September 2006.

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